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This Hour: Latest Minnesota news, sports, business and entertainment

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OFFICER KILLED-MINNESOTA

Suspect charged in killing of Mendota Heights cop

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Prosecutors have charged a man suspected of killing a Mendota Heights police officer with first-degree murder.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1pvTaid ) reports 39-year-old Brian George Fitch Sr. also was charged Friday with several counts of attempted murder and assault for firing at police officers during a standoff eight hours after the killing.

Fitch, of Mendota Heights, faces two counts of first-degree murder in Dakota County in the shooting death of Officer Scott Patrick.

Patrick was killed Wednesday during a traffic stop. Authorities arrested Fitch later that day after a manhunt. Fitch remained in serious condition Thursday with injuries he suffered during a shootout with police.

Authorities say they may never know the reason for the traffic stop.

Court records show Fitch was wanted because he left a drug treatment program.

OFFICER KILLED-MINNESOTA-DEFENDANT

Document: Fitch shot 8 times, undergoing surgery

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The man charged with killing a Mendota Heights police officer and attempting to kill other officers was shot eight times by police and is due to undergo abdominal surgery.

Court documents say Brian George Fitch Sr. is scheduled for surgery at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Regions Hospital. The documents say he's medicated and will be in the hospital for at least a week.

He is being guarded by law enforcement.

Fitch is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Officer Scott Patrick. Prosecutors say Fitch shot Patrick in the leg, abdomen and head during a West St. Paul traffic stop.

Fitch was shot later, after he fired at police.

Court records do not list an attorney for him. Documents say he told police: "I hate cops and I'm guilty."

GAY MARRIAGE-ANNIVERSARY

Minnesota gay marriage law reaches anniversary

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It's been a year since Minnesota's gay and lesbian couples got the right to legally marry.

The anniversary of the state allowing same-sex marriage arrived Friday. It was a quieter scene than last year when couples lined up to exchange vows at the stroke of midnight.

Thousands of gay couples have obtained marriage licenses in the first year. Minnesota is one of 19 states where gay marriage is legal. Bans have been overturned in several others but those cases continue to make their way through the federal courts.

Minnesota's political debate isn't over either. Two Republican incumbents who supported gay marriage in Minnesota have faced challenges within their party and some rural Democrats could see the issue used against them this fall.

NEW LAWS-MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum wage increases to $8 an hour in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minimum-wage earners in Minnesota get a pay raise to $8 an hour.

For Minnesota's lowest-paid workers, the most welcome move the Legislature made this year was increasing the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade.

The hourly wage moves from $6.15 to $8, the first in a series of steps that will eventually set it at $9.50 an hour for big companies, including those with gross annual sales topping a half-million dollars. Smaller companies phase up to $7.25 an hour next year, which is currently the federal minimum wage, then $7.75 by August 2016.

And starting in 2018, the minimum wage is indexed to inflation, which likely means automatic raises.

STORAGE SHOOTING-DEPUTY

Deputy, suspect exchange gunfire in Benton County

MINDEN TOWNSHIP, Minn. (AP) - Authorities in Benton County say a man has been arrested after exchanging gunfire with a sheriff's deputy.

Chief Deputy Troy Heck says the incident began at about 6:00 p.m. Thursday when dispatchers received a call from a man who said he was "going to a storage facility and shoot some rounds off with his gun, just for fun".

A Benton County deputy then found a man sitting in a chair with a gun at Airway Storage in Minden Township just east of St. Cloud.

Heck tells WJON (http://bit.ly/1nRrl4G ) as the deputy approached the man raised his gun and fired. The deputy returned and the man took off in his vehicle. The man was later found in a wooded area shortly before 9 p.m. and arrested.

The deputy and the suspect were not hit by gunfire.

MIDWEST ECONOMY

Report: Midwest economic index slumped in July

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states has slumped after hitting a three-year high a month earlier.

A report issued Friday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped more than 3½ percentage points in July, to 57.0. The index had risen slightly in June, to 60.6.

Looking six months ahead, the business confidence portion of the overall index also declined. It hit 60.0 last month, compared with 63.6 in June.

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers at Creighton University say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

KEILLOR-NEW PRAIRIE HOME SEASON

Tickets on sale for 'Prairie Home' fall shows

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Tickets are on sale for the fall run of humorist Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" in St. Paul.

Keillor opens the new season of his public radio show at the Fitzgerald Theater on Sept. 20. Fiddler Sara Watkins and the Hot Rize bluegrass band are musical guests.

After the 5 p.m. broadcast, the annual Prairie Home Street Dance takes place on Exchange Street in front of the theater, with a sit-down supper, dancing in the street and contests. The event is free - except for refreshments - and open to the public.

"A Prairie Home Companion" also broadcasts from the Fitzgerald on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 11 and 18.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets or online, or in person at the Fitzgerald Box Office.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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